HALIFAX – After Dalhousie University medical student William Sandeson was found guilty of first-degree murder Sunday afternoon in her son’s murder, Linda Boutilier knows her son is never coming home but closure is still something she seeks.
Dalhousie physics student Taylor Samson, 22, was last seen Aug. 15, 2015, the night he was scheduled to meet William Sandeson to complete a deal that would see Samson provide 20 pounds of marijuana in exchange for $40,000.
An eight-week trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court heard Sandeson, who was drawing down on a student line of credit at a pace that worried his parents, had lured Samson to his apartment for the deal and shot him instead.
Outside the courthouse Sunday afternoon, Boutilier said there was “no doubt in my mind” that Sandeson was going to be found guilty.
“I wasn’t worried about him being found guilty, I just couldn’t figure out if it was going to be first or second [degree murder] with all the evidence they had against him. There was no way they were going to find him not guilty,” she said.
While there is relief to have the verdict her and her family expected, the largest question that remains is the location of Samson’s body, which has never been found. Boutilier said the trial served as more of a roadblock in answering that question.
“My focus is always on Taylor and finding Taylor … If I didn’t have to be here I’d still be out looking for Taylor,” she said. “To me this is taking time from finding my son. I’ve always felt he was going to be found guilty but because I’m Taylor’s mom I need to be here to represent Taylor.”
Empathy for Sandeson’s family
Boutilier said he had a tremendous amount of empathy for Sandeson’s family, particularly his parents.
“His parents did not cause this, he caused this,” she said. “I’ve seen his father at the bail hearing and he was really ripped apart, you could tell, the tears were in his eyes, they were streaming down his face,” she added.
“I would be ripped apart if one of my children did something like that. You raise them, you nurture them, you try to teach them to be good human beings and treat people right. To have someone come to me and say my child committed murder and disposed of a body and not give the family any peace? I can’t even imagine what his father’s going through right now. I can’t imagine, I really do feel bad for them.”
Doesn’t expect help from Sandeson in finding her son’s body
Despite a conviction, pending any possible appeals, Boutilier doesn’t think Sandeson will be any help with information that could lead the family to Samson’s remains.
“He’s young and still so arrogant and I don’t think he realizes that with a 25-year first-degree [murder conviction], there’s no negotiating,” she said. “I think he’s going to put in an appeal and think he’s got a chance of saying ‘my lawyers were incompetent’ and come back and try again.”
“I think when he gets into Maximum Security and realizes that he basically [expletive] up, he’s going to realize that he’s not getting out and he’s never going to get out until he gives up where Taylor’s body is and admits his guilt.”
To help aid in the search for Samson’s body, a GoFundMe page has been set up to collect donations so that professionals can be hired, including cadaver dogs, private investigators and search teams. The goal is to raise $15,000 to offset the expenses.